How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

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How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Solvi on Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:31 pm

So lately I've been frustrated with my lack of progress in the wild world of OLD.  I've been active on OKCupid for about 11 months now, and it really hasn't gone anywhere at all.  No mutual likes, most people I message never respond, and no conversation has ever progressed beyond messaging and into a less ephemeral medium, like voice chat, Skyping, or (perish the thought) an actual, real-world date.

I realize that a large part of this is outside my control.  I'm 31 years old and exclusively looking for people close to me in age, in a small college town where the average age skews dramatically younger.  When I browse profiles on OKC, the site only ever returns about 3-4 dozen profiles *total*, and new profiles only ever pop up about once every 2-3 months.  It's hard to shake the feeling that, at least for my situation, OKC is basically a ghost town.  But I don't know where to take things from there.  I don't really have the looks to feel comfortable with Tinder (and the fact that I've never gotten a mutual like on OKC doesn't leave me feeling confident in my chances for success in the swipe-right world).  I'm not religious enough to pass the sign-up questionnaire for eHarmony.  The local PlentyofFish crowd skews a bit too far away from me politically (lots of camo, guns, and dead deer).  And my IRL friends of all genders and orientations seem just as frustrated with OLD as I am, though they actually seem to land real dates on a regular basis.

Am I just in a bad geographic area?  Am I doing something horribly wrong with my approach to OLD?  Or is this just par for the course, and I should just buck up and keep on checking in to OKC?

How long did it take you all before OLD began to yield results for you?

Genuinely interested in people's thoughts and advice.

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:08 pm

For me, I haven't put in the time or work to get results on OKC. How much time are you spending, how many people do you message etc? I've had a couple of promising conversations on a Norwegian, sex-oriented site – most or all of those was with people who had checked out my profile first. As for Tinder... I've got five matches in as many days, and one who says she'd like to meet me when she gets back from Christmas vacation. My main pic is the same I'm using here...

Not going evangelize, but my impression of Tinder is that people swipe pretty often, noncomitally, but still have a point of mutual interest that lowers the bar for conversation. More generally, I think it could be worth trying out several sites, even if they might not work for you in the end, just to check if there might be uhm, a match.

That said, I'm curious to see if you get any response on how much time/work people generally have to put down... to get a sense of when lack of response is just because OLD is a numbers game, and when it means one should look around for things in one's approach one should tweak.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Solvi on Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:33 pm

Hirundo Bos wrote:For me, I haven't put in the time or work to get results on OKC. How much time are you spending, how many people do you message etc? I've had a couple of promising conversations on a Norwegian, sex-oriented site – most or all of those was with people who had checked out my profile first. As for Tinder... I've got five matches in as many days, and one who says she'd like to meet me when she gets back from Christmas vacation. My main pic is the same I'm using here...

My chat records say that, in the past year, I've liked about a dozen profiles and sent messages to 8.  Of those, two messages led to conversations that fizzled out after about 6 or so replies; the other 6 messages yielded no response at all.  Small data set, but again, the majority of the profiles I see now when I search in my area were still there a year ago.  I do have a few filters active when I search; I'm looking for people 26-36, not married, not with kids (I'm still a virgin; I want to at least try a basic two-person relationship before jumping into that pool), and -- most importantly -- monogamous.  Among the liberal folks in my town, there are quite a few poly couples looking for a third wheel.  That's great for them and I wish them luck, but I have no interest in that sort of relationship.

But the resident OKC population in my town that matches those criteria appears to consist of a pretty static pool of around 30-40 women, and what appears to be at least 4-5 times as many men.  Seriously, when I use the search criteria listed above, but switch it to men looking for women, the list goes on forever, but when I set it to women looking for men, I can barely scroll down at all before hitting the "That’s everyone we could find" message.


Not going evangelize, but my impression of Tinder is that people swipe pretty often, noncomitally, but still have a point of mutual interest that lowers the bar for conversation. More generally, I think it could be worth trying out several sites, even if they might not work for you in the end, just to check if there might be uhm, a match.

Yeah; I've tried a few, like PlentyofFish, but my experiences there have been even more discouraging than my experiences at OKCupid.


That said, I'm curious to see if you get any response on how much time/work people generally have to put down... to get a sense of when lack of response is just because OLD is a numbers game, and when it means one should look around for things in one's approach one should tweak.

I guess that's what I'm worried about; if OLD really is a numbers game, the numbers would appear to be stacked pretty well against me.  There's certainly nothing I've got that the other 200-odd guys don't.

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by waxingjaney on Sat Dec 05, 2015 6:34 pm

Yeah, that's pretty typical. I was on OKC off and on for about 5 years and never saw anyone I was really interested in. Messaged a few folks for practice as much as anything, and nothing came of it.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:58 pm

Keep in mind that most dudes suck at messaging: "hi's", negs, copypaste shite, the works(inversely, most dudettes suck at filling out their profiles). Personalizing it puts you a cut above the rest.

Even if conversations are going somewhere, people can disappear, get a better match or just get bored with the convo at the drop of a hat. I'm trying to experiment with intensity, but so far all my convos have been pretty generic: I've only managed to land a few dates, only one which ever panned out until it fizzled out(been about a year that I was really active). Geography matters a lot: everyone here is on Tinder while OKC is limited to expats and leftie label piles who curiously still believe in not dating outside your race and IQ stemlordism, and they tend to cluster around Amsterdam and Utrecht, which is not that much travel time by Murkan standards, but another barrier compared to folks actually living in said city.

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by eselle28 on Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:41 pm

It's depended on a variety of factors. When I was younger, lived in a much larger city, and didn't have a few dealbreakers I do now, I think it took a few weeks. I currently am older, picker, and live in an area that has different demographic issues than yours does but where the range of people online is similarly slim. It took me a couple of months to set up my first date, but there have been gaps longer than that between even writing to anyone I might like. At some point, a lot of my matches consisted of off-limits people like coworkers and relatives and friends' exes, my own exes, guys who I wasn't interested in, and guys who weren't interested in me. When you're basically waiting for new people to sign up, I think you need to take a long view toward online dating and realize it may take awhile to provide any results.

In the meantime, you might want to consider speed dating (which I personally dislike but which does guarantee an even gender ratio) or think about whether you'd be willing to date someone who lived in on of the towns surrounding yours, even if it involved an hour or two of driving on the weekends.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Bumble on Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:13 am

I've got a few responses and zero dates from 43 messages over the course of a few years (just counted). I second expanding your geographical boundaries but I think you will find that OLD is not a cure for people who are bad at getting dates.

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by jcorozza on Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:32 am

Thirding the "expand your geographical boundaries" suggestion. You've messages so few people that you can't really conclude that women aren't interested. Over the years, I've probably messaged at least a hundred guys, probably closer to 200, gotten responses from maybe...20 of them, and went on dates with I think 5 of them? And then gone on dates with 5 or 6 who messaged me first. What's your distance limit set at?
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Caffeinated on Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:42 pm

In addition to the possibility of expanding your distance limit, you could consider expanding your age limit. Your current limit seems like it would be sufficient if you were in a larger city, but might be too limiting in your location. Even moving it out one or two years on both sides might make a difference, and of course you can experiment with that and move it back if you don't like it. But could be you find someone you like very much who is 6 years from your age rather than 5 years from it.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Solvi on Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:21 pm

Caffeinated wrote:In addition to the possibility of expanding your distance limit, you could consider expanding your age limit. Your current limit seems like it would be sufficient if you were in a larger city, but might be too limiting in your location. Even moving it out one or two years on both sides might make a difference, and of course you can experiment with that and move it back if you don't like it. But could be you find someone you like very much who is 6 years from your age rather than 5 years from it.

I realize I'm necro'ing my own thread here, but, yeah...  Sorry, everyone, for being incommunicado.

Even with an expanded geographic range and (slightly, to 24-37) age range, I'm still not getting much.  It kind of feels like nobody in my state is on Okcupid.  Even the nearest major metropolitan area (Indianapolis) has relatively few profiles that come up in search, and I still mostly end up seeing the same profiles over and over.  If I expand out of state, like to Chicago, then things get better, but that's like a 7-hour round-trip drive, and I usually end up working 6-7 days per week thanks to the demands of my PhD program.

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by eselle28 on Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:26 pm

It may be that people in your area just aren't very inclined toward using that service. A 7 hour round trip drive sounds unrealistic! If you want to continue trying online dating, you may want to check out one of the paid services for a month, just to see if that's where everyone is hiding. The alternative is basically what I do, which is assume that the pool is small and that it's better to check in every month or two to see if there's anyone new. I actually ended up hiding all the profiles of people I wouldn't consider dating, people who haven't written back to me, and people I've already been on dates with. The effect is a little starker - it means there's really no profiles coming up - but it does mean it's a little easier for me to actually see the new people who join.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by reboot on Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:36 am

When I was in grad school, albeit in a large urban area, most people I knew were not actively dating. If they met someone at an event or in the day to day, sure, cool. But actually committing time to online (back then it was Match) or anything like that was not a thing. Perhaps your school is the same? Most people who dated in grad school seemed to meet each other at grad student events, activities, parties, etc. Does your school have any graduate specific social groups? Maybe try joining one of those to get a social network in your age group?
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Solvi on Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:32 pm

reboot wrote:When I was in grad school, albeit in a large urban area, most people I knew were not actively dating. If they met someone at an event or in the day to day, sure, cool. But actually committing time to online (back then it was Match) or anything like that was not a thing. Perhaps your school is the same? Most people who dated in grad school seemed to meet each other at grad student events, activities, parties, etc. Does your school have any graduate specific social groups? Maybe try joining one of those to get a social network in your age group?

We have a Graduate-Professional Student Organization that occasionally (as in 1-2 times per semester) holds mixers and other events.  But they're university-wide, and pretty huge as a result.  Otherwise, grad-student life at my institution seems to be highly fragmented -- most people stick within their own departments.  My social circle has gradually expanded outward over the past two-and-a-half years, but mostly due to meeting friends of friends.

Edit: Part of what also frustrates me about relying on casual socialization as a dating avenue (aside from the obvious, don't-go-into-it-only-hoping-for-dates business, of course), is that it's -- if I can borrow Enail's phrasing from a different thread -- such a crapshoot.  My experience of the grad population here is also that a lot of the folks here, particularly in humanities departments, arrive here at the university already in long-term relationships -- either already married, or very nearly there.  Which is great if you like getting invited to weddings, but it does make it even harder for me to maintain an abundance mentality.


Last edited by Solvi on Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:50 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by Solvi on Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:36 pm

eselle28 wrote:It may be that people in your area just aren't very inclined toward using that service. A 7 hour round trip drive sounds unrealistic! If you want to continue trying online dating, you may want to check out one of the paid services for a month, just to see if that's where everyone is hiding. The alternative is basically what I do, which is assume that the pool is small and that it's better to check in every month or two to see if there's anyone new. I actually ended up hiding all the profiles of people I wouldn't consider dating, people who haven't written back to me, and people I've already been on dates with. The effect is a little starker - it means there's really no profiles coming up - but it does mean it's a little easier for me to actually see the new people who join.

What are the (reputable) paid services, incidentally?  I'm familiar with eHarmony -- enough to know that I'm not the sort of customer they're looking for. But otherwise, I've never really explored those avenues.

And, yeah, the checking-in-every-month-or-so thing is basically what I'm doing now.  It's just frustrating.  It's hard to keep up the sort of abundance mentality that the Doc advises when it doesn't feel like there's any actual abundance out there.  (In the sense that while there are a lot of people out there, I don't often see a lot of people who are looking for relationships, and I see even fewer with whom I might be mutually compatible.)

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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

Post by eselle28 on Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:16 pm

[quote="Solvi"]
eselle28 wrote:
What are the (reputable) paid services, incidentally?  I'm familiar with eHarmony -- enough to know that I'm not the sort of customer they're looking for.  But otherwise, I've never really explored those avenues.

I'd suggest checking out Match.com. It veers a little more relationship-oriented than OkCupid, and it isn't set up to be very friendly toward poly, kinky, or casual sex-seeking people. That being said, it's like OkCupid in that you can usually find people with a range of religious and political beliefs, lifestyles, and backgrounds. Or at least that's the case in the places I've lived. I suspect mileage varies based on exact location, but it's not a site like Eharmony that veers toward marriage-minded, conservative people.
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Re: How long did you have to spend on OLD before progressing beyond messaging? [adv]

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